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In mid-February, I took a new job. I now work for Healthgrades as a web developer in downtown Denver. Numerous factors prompted this change, but number one on the list is that I now get to see my son Felix every day. I could not be happier about that!

Certainly I will miss travelling for work, and especially all of the perks that go along with it. My "going away" present from Hertz was a very nice Mercedes SLK 250 as my last rental in L.A. I made 1K status with United last year, although in the last few years upgrades on United have become almost a myth, so the status doesn't mean what it did just a few years ago. I also made Diamond status with Hilton, which always has and still does treat me quite well. So, I will be saying goodbye to all of these niceties, as well as all of the points that have afforded me many a free vacation. Fortunately, I still have plenty saved up.

I will also miss the people I worked with at Avanade and Accenture. My project in L.A. lasted longer than any project I have ever been on, and I developed some great working relationships while I was there. I can't say I will miss L.A. much though, especially the mind-numbing traffic. The one exception is the always fantastic Blue Crab Hand Roll from Irori Sushi.

Now, I feel like it's time to plan our next vacation.

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 10:48 AM

Nhu and I recently returned from a week in Dubai. The trip was our first to the Middle East, and we had a great time. We went on a guided tour with friends of mine, Chi and Pamela, who live in Chicago. I don’t usually go for guided tours, but we got an excellent deal on Travelzoo, and I thought a tour might be a good idea for our first visit. We were not disappointed! Aside from the hassle of getting there and back, we had a blast. We were shown the highlights of Dubai, and we also had ample time to explore on our own. I made Chi and Pamela get up with us to see sunrise at a beach. We also went up in the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and stayed until sunset to see the water fountain show in front of the tower. We went “dune bashing,” which is what they called some pretty crazy four-wheeling in the desert sand dunes. Sadly, we weren’t the ones doing the driving. I think the highlight of the tour, though, was the trip to see the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The mosque was incredibly beautiful, easily one of the prettiest buildings I’ve ever seen.

Since my last post, we also spent time in San Diego and Florida. We went to San Diego over Thanksgiving to visit Nhu’s brother and his family. Little did we know that we would have the privilege of seeing their newborn daughter! She was not due until December, but apparently she had other plans. She was truly beautiful, albeit very, very tiny. Linh Chi was very excited to have a new baby sister!

Nhu and I went to Ft. Myers, Florida, for a weekend in December. It was nice to get away from winter weather and spend some time strolling on the beach. I had never been to that part of Florida, so it was fun to do some exploring. We spent some time on Sanibel, and worked our way from Fort Myers Beach all the way down to Barefoot Beach. We also went to Six Mile Cypress Slough, which was Nhu’s first time seeing a swamp. After a few days of excellent seafood and time at the beach, though, we were glad to come back home, even though it meant returning to cold, snowy weather.

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 11:18 AM

Well, it's been quite a long time since I posted here, and I think it's time for an update. Since my last post, I've been to plenty of places, which are of course reflected in my photos. I've been doing a much better job of keeping those up to date than posting here.

My first trip was an extended weekend in Yellowstone, which was pretty amazing. I have been there before, but it's been a while. As is so easy to do there, I stumbled upon many beautiful photo opportunities. I stayed in Jackson, which made for a long drive to the park, and to compound the issue there was even construction on the road there. Still, I managed to see everything that I wanted, including making the drive all the way around the park's main loop. In doing so, I saw the beautiful canyon, many of the hot springs, Yellowstone Lake, and of course Old Faithful. I was also lucky enough to come across a moose, a black bear, and a brown bear in my short stay.

My next trip was another weekend in Seattle, to see my college roommate Matt. We took a ferry to Victoria to spend the weekend there, which was quite enjoyable. Victoria is a very nice little city, especially the harbor. We also made it up to Butchart Gardens, which is every macro photographer's dream.

In September, I went all the way to Buffalo to see Niagara Falls. I had never been there before, but it has been on my list for a while. I went there with Huy, a coworker who is on my current project (and the same guy that I went with to Vietnam). We visited both the American and Canadian sides of the falls, and I have to say that the Canadian side does offer a much better view. With that said, both sides offer a very unique experience, and I must say I do not approve of the over-commercialization of the Canadian side. The falls are really quite beautiful, though, and I was afforded some very stunning photos, and a fantastic time. It was perfect for a weekend trip.

Next on the list was a trip to Mono Lake via Reno. Mono Lake is a much-photographed location, despite being very much out of the way. It's located just to the east of the Sierras and Yosemite National Park, and a few hours south of Reno. I decided to fly to Reno to get there, though it probably wouldn't have taken much longer to drive from San Jose. I got there in the mid afternoon, took some photos and then waited for sunset. The place was then hopping with photographers, though it was still quite easy to find some wonderfull shooting opportunities. I managed to get quite a few that I liked. I also stayed past sunset, as someone there told me there would be a harvest moon, which turned out to be pretty spectacular. It was dark enough that you could see the glow in the horizon before the moon itself appeared, and it made for a great experience, especially with the coyotes howling nearby. The next day I went to the rather unique Devil's Postpile before leaving for Reno and the airport.

In October, I took another extended weekend trip, this time to New England to see the fall leaves. I had never been to New England before, and I had a great time. I flew into Boston, but wasted no time and went straight up to Vermont. I drove all around, from Smuggler's Notch to Montgomery to Burlington to Montpelier. I also hit up Franconia Notch, the Kancamagus Highway, Conway, Mount Washington and Lake Winnipesaukee. According to Hertz, I covered over a thousand miles in my five days there. The leaves were quite beautiful, and unlike anything I had seen before. Colorado obviously has beautiful leaves as well, but almost all of them are yellow and gold. New England has a broader spectrum, including oranges and very rich reds, which are quite spectacular. The small towns in Vermont add quite a bit to the experience as well.

Still not done! My most recent was a weekend trip to Sedona. I flew into Phoenix, and was lucky enough to be given a convertible Mustang. I then drove up to Sedona, and was greated with some of the most beautiful rock formations I have seen outside of the Grand Canyon. The small town is nestled against them, with many spectacular trails and vistas nearby. I spent a good deal of time at Redrock Crossing, another popular photo location. I also climbed the trail up Cathedral Rock, hiked a bit around Bell Rock, and drove out to see the Oak Creek vista. Additionally, I took my poor rental car up Schnebly Hill Road, a very rough dirt/rock road recommended only for trucks, but with a spectacular view. It was slow-going, but I made it to the vista point, which was well worth it.

That brings my blog up to date with all of my recent adventures. I've also had some other positive developments in my life recently, though I will save them for the time being.

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 9:49 AM